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Snort not backdoored, Sourcefire not compromised
From: Martin Roesch (roeschsourcefire.com)
Date: Sun Sep 21 2003 - 19:44:11 CDT
It's come to my attention that some group is claiming to have broken
into a Sourcefire server and backdoored the Snort source code. First
things first, there is no backdoor in Snort nor has there ever been,
everyone can relax.
A shell server got compromised well over a year ago, but what these
guys aren't telling you is that the network that it was on was not only
logically separate from the rest of the sourcefire.com domain, it was
also physically removed from it too (by about 23 miles, approximately
the distance from the Sourcefire office to my basement). Yes, that's
right, they busted into a shell server that was maintained on a
physically separate network in my basement. That particular machine
was maintained as a shell server for various people to log into so that
we can have a sacrificial box to use to chat on IRC without having to
worry about our real network getting compromised, and it has served its
While we do try to keep that system from suffering break-ins, we also
realize that many IRC clients aren't exactly the most secure pieces of
code in the world and sometimes there are problems in server code as
well (like apache and sshd), so we put together servers like that one
so that we can interact with people while minimizing the risks to the
company's networks and servers. I thought this was fairly standard
practice for many security companies, maybe I'm wrong.
If you're wondering "how do you know the code isn't backdoored?", since
we know that that server is an "at risk" server we're not in the habit
of checking code into CVS from there. If that's not good enough for
you, Snort has been through three code audits since March (one
Sourcefire internal, two third-party external) and there are most
definitively no backdoors in the code, nor were there any.
Hope that clears things up.
BTW, the sample code that they put into their little screed was nothing
more than an update of the 'stick' program from 2001, not really
anything to get worked up about.
Martin Roesch - Founder/CTO Sourcefire Inc. - (410) 290-1616
Sourcefire: Enterprise-class Intrusion detection built on Snort
roeschsourcefire.com - http://www.sourcefire.com
Snort: Open Source Network IDS - http://www.snort.org